Mimmo Rotella, Italian, 1918–2006
Established representation: Represented by industry leading galleries.
High auction record: £1.1m, Phillips, 2016
Collected by major museums: Tate, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Mimmo Rotella, who represented Italy in the 1964 Venice Biennale, was experimental to his core: in his poetry, paintings, photographs, sculptural assemblages, and collages, he broke down conventions, leaving behind a body of extravagant work. He began as a painter of geometric abstractions in the early 1950s, then turned away from his studio and toward the world around him. There he found weathered movie and advertising posters, which he would tear off the walls, affix to canvases, and rip further to develop semi-abstract compositions out of mass media imagery, which he called “double décollages.” Through his collages, he became associated with Raymond Hains, Jacques Villeglé, and François Dufrêne—together known as Les Affichistes. Rotella was also linked to the French Nouveau Réalistes, for reflecting commodity culture, and its excesses and absurdities, in his art.